Jurgen Klopp has called Liverpool home for just over a year now and the end of the year appraisal can only be a positive one as his side sit currently third in the Premier League with only goal difference keeping them behind both Manchester City and Arsenal.
After taking over from Brendan Rodgers, Klopp went on record in his opening press conference saying that he aimed to deliver a Premier League title to Anfield within four years but could the former Borussia Dortmund manager deliver one much sooner than expected.
The opening weekend of the season saw what Liverpool could be capable of when a 4 goal blitz in just 20 minutes at The Emirates pummeled Arsenal into submission as The Reds raced into a 4-1 lead. That period of the game made a lot of people sit up and think that if Liverpool weren’t going to win the league then they were certainly going to be an entertaining prospect.
Defensive frailties have reared their ugly head at times with defeat away at Burnley being a perfect example of that in just the second game of the season but that defeat has been the only blot on the copybook so far as Liverpool have gone their last 7 games unbeaten and now even at this early stage look like they could play a pivotal role in the title race.
There is always a great weight of expectation from Liverpool fans and they will now begin to believe even more that this squad is ready for a real tilt at the title. Out of all the ‘Big 6’ they are only yet to face Manchester City (with that game coming on New Years Eve) and they find themselves in a very strong position with a quarter of the season already behind us.
With Manchester City it’s all been about the arrival of Pep Guardiola and after that invincible start to the season everyone was lining up to declare them Champions by September but Liverpool have slowly but surely gone about their business and now find themselves good value for their current third place. Had it not been for their ability to keep clean sheets then they could be top by now.
It seems to be a case of whatever you score, we’ll score one more with Liverpool this season as in 5 of their 6 wins they have one by a one goal margin with just the 5-1 thrashing of Hull last month their only routine win of the campaign so far.
What has been impressive though is the speed in which this transformation has taken place, last year was almost a proving ground for a large amount of the squad he had inherited as Klopp ran the rule over who he wanted to stay and who was to be shown the Anfield exit door.
The summer saw not quite the massive overhaul we may have expected but it also didn’t bring the marquee signing that perhaps Liverpool fans were expecting, namely someone from Klopp’s former club Borussia Dortmund such as Mario Gotze.
But it seems that not signing a superstar has worked in Liverpool’s favour as the new faces that have arrived on Merseyside have only proved to strengthen what was already a team collective. Sadio Mane and Giorgino Wijnaldum may have cost a large outlay but they were already tried and tested in the Premier League and they have taken to life in Liverpool like a duck to water.
It’s now fair to say that this is very much Klopp’s Liverpool squad with the era of Brendan Rodgers now just a footnote in Liverpool history. His first season saw heartbreak in not one but two cup finals with defeats to both Manchester City and Sevilla but could this time around see the club do even better? Whisper it quietly but could this honestly be Liverpool’s year?